Black Characters As Seen By White Authors Essay

Black Characters As Seen By White Authors Essay

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It is no secret that there is a complicated history with race in America. The issue has been discussed by scholars such as Sterling Brown or W.E.B Dubois. Brown’s article, “Negro Characters as Seen by White Authors” outlines a variety of common stereotypes for black characters in American literature from the late nineteenth century through the early twentieth century. DuBois went a step further in his essay “Of Our Spiritual Strivings”, in which he outlined his theory of “double-consciousness”, a theory that has shown itself time and time again, especially in hip hop. Kanye’s West’s fifth studio album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, takes listeners on a lyrical journey through common stereotypes and double-consciousness. For example, the songs “Gorgeous”, “Power”, and “Monster” each embody the stereotypes of the Brute Negro and the Exotic Primitive, as well as double- consciousness.
In “Gorgeous,” West’s use of the Brute Negro stereotype is echoed in his statements on how blacks are commonly stereotyped. Sterling Brown’s description of the Brute Negro describes a character of “minimum progress and maximum regress”, implying that one is regressing to their more animalistic nature (192). In this sense, West’s lyrics depict the typical stereotyping of a Brute Negro based on names, attitude, and sexual appetite. “Face it, Jerome get more time than Brandon and at the airport they check all through my bag and they tell me that it’s random” (Lyrics On Demand). With names, West addresses how a name brings about a certain prejudice. He uses the name Jerome to represent a stereotypical black male, and states that someone with such a name and stigma against them is more likely to serve a long prison sentence. Jerome is a caric...


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...indie folk musician. Vernon’s appearance on such a quintessential rap track is impressive and jaw-dropping considering these types of songs (posse cuts”) are notorious for featuring all- black artists. His presence plays to the double-consciousness West expresses, by mixing black and white artists together for collaboration.
Kanye West’s album explores many of the aspects about which Sterling Brown and W.E.B DuBois have written. His portrayal of stereotypes is, at times, abstract and subtle, but is mostly very direct, such as the Brute Negro depicted in the video for “Monster” or the Exotic Primitive white women in the video for “Power”. His double- consciousness is voiced quite often, especially in “Gorgeous,” and he gets his point across to the listeners. Whether or not it is intentional, West’s opinion of stereotypes and double-consciousness quite is clear

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